In recent years, coffee has been making waves as a very unlikely ‘superfood’, having shown to help keep diseases like cancer, heart disease, and even diabetes at bay.
But what about the health benefits of drinking tea?
After all, no matter how many hipster start-ups are selling a Cuppa Joe in your neighbourhood, tea is still the nation’s favourite drink.
A recent study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, shows that drinking tea may play an important role in heart disease prevention.
The researchers found that moderate tea drinking could potentially help slow down the progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) and reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
The build-up of calcium in the arteries is a very early marker of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or coronary microvascular disease. Monitoring your CAC is a great way of keeping tabs on your arterial health.
By having a CAC scan — a simple X-Ray — you can quickly see if specks of calcium are accumulating in the walls of the coronary arteries. If your CAC is low, your risk for having a cardiovascular event is also low. If it’s high, you may already have a fair amount of coronary disease.
In this latest study, researchers looked at the prevalence of coronary artery calcium in 6,500 people from across different ethnic backgrounds. They found that almost half had no calcium build up in their coronary arteries. About a quarter had a score of 1 to 99, and the other quarter had scores of 100 or higher.
The researchers then compared the data of questionnaires about tea consumption and they found that people who drank one or more cups of tea a day were less likely to have coronary artery calcium scores of 100 or higher. The tea drinkers also had reduced progression of calcium in the arteries as well as lower incidence of actual cardiovascular disease events like stroke and heart attack.
There is pretty solid evidence that flavonoids found in tea can be beneficial for coronary disease.
More importantly, this study looked at a diverse population whereas previous studies have looked at specific ethnic groups, and findings in one ethnic group don’t always apply to other groups.
Unfortunately, the study didn’t distinguish between black and green tea. But given the long history of research on the health benefits of both, you really can’t go wrong either way.
Commenting on the results, lead researcher Dr P. Elliott Miller said: “Our study supports regular tea consumption as part of a heart-healthy diet as recommended by the American Heart Association.”
So if you’re not already drinking tea, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t start adding a cup or two to your daily routine.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Moderate Tea Drinking May Slow CAC Progression, Cut CV Event Risk: MESA, published online, medscape.com/viewarticle/869038